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Summary

  1. Oil rises after US air strikes
  2. Gold also rises as investors seeks safe havens
  3. Lloyds sets aside £100m for HBOS fraud victims
  4. EU to rule on Fox-Sky deal
  5. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk

Live Reporting

By Dearbail Jordan

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good night!

That's all from Business Live for today and this week - thanks for reading. 

We're back bright and early at 06:00 Monday so do join us then.

All bets are off

Billy Walters
Reuters

Before we leave you, some news about a verdict in a New York court case today.

Famed Las Vegas sports gambler William "Billy" Walters (pictured) was convicted of insider trading charges in a scheme that prosecutors said enabled him to make more than $40m and involved a stock tip to star professional golfer Phil Mickelson. 

In their second day of deliberations, jurors found Walters, 70, guilty on all 10 counts he faced, including securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy, following a three-week trial in federal court in Manhattan. 

"Billy Walters lost his bet that he could cheat the securities markets and get away with it scot-free," said acting US Attorney Joon Kim.

Walters, who built a fortune as one of the most successful US sports punters, was shocked by the verdict. "If I had made a bet I would have lost. I just did lose the biggest bet of my life."

His lawyer said he would appeal. Sentencing is due on 14 July. 

Wall Street treads water

NYSE
Getty Images

Stocks on Wall Street ended flat after the US economy added fewer jobs than expected in March. 

Companies added 98,000 jobs last month - far fewer than the 180,000 forecast by economists, although the unemployment rate fell to a 10-year low of 4.5%, down from 4.7% in February. 

The Dow Jones fell about 7 points to 20,655, while the S&P 500 slipped 1.9 points to 2,355.5. 

The tech-heavy Nasdaq shed 1.1 points to 5,877.8.

Private investigations

Bloomberg reporter Mark Bergen tweets:

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Hornby chuggs along

A Hornby train set
Getty Images

Shares in Hornby closed 8% higher today after the model train maker said the first stage of its turnaround plan was now complete. 

The firm, whose brands also include Scalextric and Corgi, has been reducing the number of toys it sells after a bruising loss last year , as well as cutting costs.

Neil Wilson, an analyst at ETX Capital, says it now needs to increase sales. "Its 'iconic’ brand has value for oldies but does an Airfix model Spitfire quite set the pulses racing like they used to?" he asks.  

"Chugging along managing a slow and steady decline may be all that Hornby can hope for.”

The company could be yours for less than £30m, by the way.

Must try harder

Something new for you now dear readers: our Boring Tweet of the Week award. Congratulations to the Department of Business!  

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Cohn on the up?

Gary Cohn
Getty Images

Could former Goldman Sachs senior executive Gary Cohn (pictured) be in line for a much bigger role in the Trump White House?

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that President Trump - unhappy with infighting among his top advisers - is considering a major shake-up of his senior team.

Mr Cohn, director of the National Economic Council, could replace Reince Priebus as chief of staff, according to the report.

Steve Bannon, the president's chief strategist - who has clashed with Jared Kushner, Mr Trump's son-in-law and one of his closest advisers - may also find himself moved.

Samsonite buys eBags

Screengrab from eBags website
eBags

Samsonite is paying $105m for US online bag retailer eBags as it looks for new sources of growth.

The Colorado-based company was founded by five guys, pictured above, in 1998 and has since grown to be the country's largest online bags retailer.

Samsonite bought luxury rival Tumi for $1.8bn in March.

Romance is dead

A shortage of bank notes in Zimbabwe has forced couples and wedding guests to find a new way to give and receive gifts.

Card machines replace cash at Zimbabwe weddings

US stock markets gain ground

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has bounced higher again and is is now 49.68 points ahead at 20,712.63 despite Russia warning that the US air strike on Syria could have "extremely serious" consequences.

The S&P 500 rose 5.05 points to 2,362.

The Nasdaq is up 5.02 points at 2,362.56.

Uber stolen files denial

Uber app
Getty Images

Uber has said that its self-driving sensor technology is "fundamentally different" from that of rival Waymo, denying that confidential files allegedly stolen from Waymo ever made it onto its servers.

In a federal filing, Uber said its self-driving technology was independently developed, and never relied on confidential files belonging to Waymo, which is owned by Google's parent company Alphabet.

The two companies locked in legal action are both vying to be the first to bring autonomous vehicles to the public.

BreakingTwitter withdraws lawsuit after government backs down

Twitter has dropped a lawsuit it had filed on Thursday against the US government , saying in court papers that the government had withdrawn a summons for information about an account critical of President Donald Trump. 

Loss-making FIFA to stay in the red

Fifa
Getty Images

FIFA has reported a $369m loss for 2016 and expects to remain in the red this year.

The governing body for football blamed the poor figure on the cost of investigating scandals , bad investments and accounting changes.

It also expects pre-tax losses to grow to $489m in 2017 before the World Cup next year brings in revenues.

US stock markets oscillate

The US stock markets were volatile on Friday. 

After opening lower, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 17.49 points when Donald Trump gave a positive assessment of his meeting with China's President Xi Jinping.

However, that gain was pared back to a 7.07 point rise to put the Dow Jones at 20,670.02.

The S&P 500 was flat at 2,357.83

The Nasdaq is 3.59 points ahead 5,882.54.

Trump and China: progress has been made

Xi Jinping and Donald Trump
Getty Images

Following a two-day summit with President Xi Jinping of China, during which the US launched an air strike on a target in Syria, President Donald Trump said: "The relationship developed by President Xi and myself I think is outstanding.

"We look forward to being together many times in the future and I believe lots of very potentially bad problems will be going away so I just want to thank President Xi for being with us in the United States.

"It's a tremendous honour for me and all of my representatives to host the president and his representatives and, again, progress has been made."

Blame it on Stella

Storm Stella
Getty Images

Stella was responsible for March's lacklustre jobs market in the US .

A storm in the North East of America - dubbed Stella - stopped businesses from hiring hence the 98,000 increase in new jobs as opposed to the expected rise of around 185,000.

Phil Orlando, chief equity strategist at Federated Investors, said: "Our thinking is that there is nothing wrong with the labor market, other than the timing of Stella."

The US Federal Reserve is still expected to lift interest rates twice more this year, particularly as the unemployment rate shrank from 4.7% to 4.5%.

"As long as we see the unemployment rate decline, we will see more rate hikes," Cathy Barrera, chief economic adviser at ZipRecruiter told Reuters.

Listen: South Africans protest over axed finance minister

Reports suggest shots were aimed in the direction of members of the ruling ANC party.

London stock markets close up

The FTSE 100 ended trading 42.26 points ahead at 7,345.46 on Friday.

Mining group Randgold Resources topped the risers, supported by a 1.2% rise in gold prices to $1,265.7 an ounce as investors sought safe assets following the US air strike against Syria.

Randgold's shares rose 3.94% to £73.85.

easyJet, which made the biggest gains on the FTSE 100 on Thursday. led the fallers today. Its shares fell 1.5% to £10.44.

The FTSE 250 finished up 87.08 points at 19,213.16.

Trump: my relationship with Xi is 'outstanding'

Xi and Trump
G

The first remarks from the US President's meeting with China's President Xi Jinping are emerging and Donald Trump says his relationship with his Chinese counterpart is "outstanding".

Alternative facts and how to spot them

A hollow reaction?

Others are doubtful that the US attack on Syria, which has moved oil prices upwards, will really affect the crude industry.

Hamza Khan, head of commodities strategy at ING, said: "This might just be a speculative move higher because there's nothing fundamental that's supporting this rise."

Geopolitical risks raise oil prices

Oil
Getty Images

Oil prices have fallen back a little today after reaching a one month high of $56.08 a barrel, following the US air strike against Syria.

Brent crude is now trading at $55.04 a barrel.

US West Texas Intermediate is up 22 cents a barrel at $51.92.

Frank Klumpp, oil analyst at Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg, told Reuters: "Oil markets are back in bullish mode after the setback of the previous weeks. This news flow seems to bring geopolitical risks back on the radar."

Samsung in recovery mode

Samsung's new smartphone Galaxy S8
Getty Images

As we reported earlier, Samsung Electronics is on track to report record annual earnings, despite its de-facto boss going on trial in a political corruption scandal.

It is forecasting a 48% rise in income in the January-to-March period, thanks to strong memory chip sales.

That would be its best quarterly profit in almost four years and shows a recovery from the  Galaxy Note 7 fiasco .

Read more here

EC Sky decision made 'without prejudice'

Sky
Getty Images

Ofcom and the CMA have until 16 May to investigate 21st Century Fox's bid for the remaining 61% stake in Sky. 

The European Commision said its clearance decision was "without prejudice to the UK's ongoing media plurality review of the proposed transaction".

BreakingEC sees no competition issues for Sky deal

The European Commission said 21st Century Fox's offer for the remaining stake in Sky - the media group already owns 39% - raises no competition concerns in Europe.

"The commission found that the proposed transaction would lead to only a limited increase in Sky's existing share of the markets for the acquisition of TV content as well as in the market for the wholesale supply of TV channels in the relevant member states.

"Fox and Sky are mainly active in different markets in Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy and the UK. They compete with each other only to a limited extent, mainly in the acquisition of TV content and in the wholesale supply of basic pay TV channels.

"Based on the results of its market investigation, the commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns." 

Sky bid still under scrutiny in the UK

The UK is yet to approve 21st Century Fox's bid to buy the 61% stake in Sky it does not already own.

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley has referred the £11.7bn offer for the satellite broadcaster to Ofcom, the communications regulator, and Britain's Competition and Markets Authority.

Shares in Sky rose 0.73% to 969p.

BreakingEU approves 21st Century Fox bid for Sky

Twenty-First Century Fox has secured unconditional EU antitrust approval for its £11.7bn takeover of Sky. 

Stock markets steady following Syria strike

US stock market trader
Getty Images

US stock markets appear unrattled by the US airstrike on Syria , or fewer than expected new jobs added in March .

Although the Dow Jones Industrial Average continues to trade lower - down 43.29 points at 20,619.66 - Briefing.com analyst Patrick O'Hare said: "The message of the market was that the attendant risks related to Syria are still within acceptable tolerance levels."

The S&P 500 is down 5.32 points at 2,352.17.

The Nasdaq 20.08 points lower at 5,858.87.

Place your bets for the Grand National

Rule the World won the Grand National in 2016
Getty Images
Rule the World won the Grand National in 2016

It is the Grand National on Saturday which means lots of folk will be enjoying a flutter.

William Hill, the bookmaker, is expecting to take 35 million bets on the famous horse race, totaling £225m in wagers.

The company said that the decision to move the Grand National an hour forward to 5.15pm last year helped boost takings. It means it will not clash with football coverage on TV.

And presumably people are a little more "well-oiled" by that time on a Saturday. 

If you haven't chosen your horse for the big race at Aintree tomorrow, take a look here  for the full guide. 

Business Live will be betting on the one with the most ridiculous name.

Good luck!

Investor focus shifts from jobs to China

Donald Trump Xi Jinping
Getty Images

Nancy Curtin, chief investment officer at Close Brothers Asset Management, describes the US non-farm payrolls data as "resilient".

"The US economy is continuing to motor along without the need for fiscal fuel, as Trump’s tax cuts, infrastructure spending and other manifesto pledges get off to a slow start," she says.

The focus for stock markets is now the meeting between Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping where "the main topic of which is likely to be the China’s role in the US trade deficit". 

Ms Curtin says: "Chinese investment in the US, specifically into infrastructure, could be a key bargaining chip - this could provide job creation and boost the US economy. Trump is also likely to seek better access to the Chinese market, reducing import tariffs and opening the market up. Given China’s economic exposure to US trade, reaching an agreement will be important.”

US stock markets open lower

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has opened down 24.69 points at 20,638.26. 

The S&P 500 is 1.82 points lower at 2,355.67.

The Nasdaq is down 5.57 points at 5,873.38. 

Full to the brim

US employment
Getty Images

The lower than expected growth in new US jobs might not be all bad.

Luke Bartholomew, investment strategist at Aberdeen Asset Management Investment, says: "Rather than being interpreted as a negative it could be seen as the economy approaching full-employment, or at least the labour market now being pretty tight. 

"The slowdown in payroll growth is exactly what you would expect when the economy closes in on full-employment.

"So yes the data was a little weaker, but it won’t change the outlook on monetary policy. The Fed still on course for at least two more hikes this year.”

Jaeger to file for administration

Jaeger
Getty Images

The loss making fashion chain Jaeger has filed notice of its intention to appoint administrators at the high court.

Last month its former owners, Better Capital, sold the company's debt to an undisclosed buyer, thought to be the Edinburgh Woollen Mill, although this has not been officially confirmed. Better Capital bought the business in 2012 but failed to turn it around. 

Today's move gives Jaeger 10 days breathing space to try to find a solution to its financial problems.

It has 28 free standing stores as well as concessions. It employs around 700 workers.

Not so bad?

The number of jobs added is lower than expected, but academic and commentator Justin Wolfers notes:

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US jobless at 10-year low

Chris Johnston

Business reporter

The US unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in a decade in March despite adding a smaller than expected number of jobs.

Employers added 98,000 jobs last month - far fewer than the 180,000 expected by economists.

However, the unemployment rate fell from 4.7% in February to just 4.5%. Anything under 5% is considered to indicate "full employment".

The number of people in work or looking for a job held steady at 63% in March.

US flag
Getty Images

US unemployment falls to 4.5%

BBC business presenter tweets...

NIESR blames revised outlook on 'weak retail sales'

UK shoppers
Getty Images

The NIESR has blamed its revised outlook for UK growth on weakening consumer demand. 

It said its forecast of 0.5% growth in the first quarter - down from 0.7% in the last three months of 2016 - was due to "relatively weak retail sales".

"Consumption is expected to moderate further this year as increasing inflation erodes households' purchasing power," added research fellow James Warren. 

Anti-Zuma protests gather steam

As Fitch cut South Africa's credit rating, protests against President Jacob Zuma have been mounting. 

Mr Zuma's sacking of a respected finance minister, which led to the downgrade, has sparked anger across the country.  

Here, BBC Africa shows images of the thousands of citizens who took to the streets calling for him to go.

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NIESR cuts growth forecast

IHS Markit economist Howard Archer tweets:

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BreakingFox set to win Sky nod

Sky logo
Getty Images

Reuters is reporting that Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox is set to win EU approval for its £11.7bn takeover of Sky, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Fox already owns 39% of Sky. Mr Murdoch and his family have long coveted full control of Sky despite the damaging failure of a previous attempt in 2011 when their UK newspaper business became embroiled in a phone-hacking scandal. 

The European Commission, which is scheduled to decide on the deal on Friday, declined to comment.